‘Awake’ 1.04 Recap: “Things Are Different But Equally Plausible”

I have a new question about the premise of ‘Awake’ that came to mind during last week’s episode. When detective Mike Britten goes to sleep in one of his realities and wakes up the next morning in the other, what happens in the first one? Does he skip a day? If so, do people there miss him? Or does he live every day of the week twice back-to-back? Upside: Weekends would be twice as long. Downside: So would Mondays.

These are the type of things I ponder while watching the show. Britten himself doesn’t seem overly concerned about such issues. We’re only four episodes in, and already he seems to be taking his situation in stride. He has adapted remarkably well to his dual existence, and never gets confused about where he is or what he’s supposed to be doing. I doubt I’d handle it so well.

Episode ‘Kate Is Enough’ (groan) adds a new wrinkle to his predicament by suggesting that his two realities didn’t just diverge at the moment of his accident. In fact, things in each differ from long before that point.

In one timeline, Britten investigates the death of a girl who fell off a tech millionaire’s yacht while he was having a party. He claims that he’d been having an affair with his assistant, and she turned suicidal when he broke it off with her. But Britten figures out that there was never really any affair. The girl had discovered that the company’s new product didn’t do what they claimed it did. She was going to reveal the fraud, until the rich guy and his partner roofied her and let her fall of the boat. While working this case, Britten runs into the Kate of the title, who used to be his son Rex’s babysitter but is now a successful investment banker.

In the other timeline, Britten looks into the murder of a “professional partier.” He runs into Kate again here, but this time she’s a strung-out junkie who claims to be an actress. (While it’s never explicitly said that she acts in porn, that seems to be the implication.) The victim was her ex-boyfriend, and she killed him as part of a burglary-murder.

The two Kates diverged after a tragedy caused the death of her sister. In one reality, her mother became cold and distant, and pushed Kate away. In the other, the mother made an effort to involve herself in Kate’s life. Britten recognizes that Rex has been pulling away from him, and realizes that he needs to be a better parent or risk losing his son.

I like the way that the show ties its emotional component to the cases of the week, even though it perhaps feels a little too schematic here. On the other hand, Britten’s partner Vega (Wilmer Valderrama) is starting to annoy me with his repeated insistence on blowing off cases. That seems to be his only character trait at the moment. The show needs to give him more to do.

3 comments

  1. Bob

    Another thing that has me wondering, is the aside action that sometimes takes place which Britten has no knowledge of. For example, his wife went to a storage locker where a friend of his son was working on a motorcycle that the two started before Britten’s son’s death. Britten didn’t know about this at all though it played into the script later on when his wife gains a loving appreciation of the motorcycle because of the association it had to her son. If Britten is dreaming, how does this separate activity fit in? This is particularly true of the covert conversation Britten’s boss had at the end of the second episode. It it real? It it part of Britten’s dream that he’s not privy to???
    These twists keep the show moving forward and make for some good scripting and questioning on the part of viewers.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Very good point, Bob. Both of the realities seem to have those side-stories that Britten couldn’t know about (the stuff with the motorcycle and the charity event in his wife’s reality, the secret conspiracy involving his captain in the son’s reality). Logically, neither of these could be Britten’s dream. They both must be real in some alternate-universe sort of way.

      I still think that Britten himself is dead, though. 🙂

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